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Does Your Horse Remain Focused During Horseback Riding Lessons?

By Jim Milton

No matter if you are engaged in horseback riding lessons on a horse provided by your school or riding your own animal, it is critical that you are able to maintain the horse’s complete attention. If not, you will not get much out of your lessons.

Horses used in riding schools often doze during lessons, as the routine is frequently unvarying because repetition is the way to learn. It’s especially hard for beginner riders to change the sequence of movements while they’re still concentrating on how to give the aids correctly and steering the horse.

But part of learning how to ride a horse needs to include varying the routine if you don’t want your horse to ‘fall asleep’ while you ride. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to keep your horse awake and listening.

Select the tactics that you are capable of undertaking and put them to work in making the horseback riding experience more enjoyable.

When taking horseback riding lessons request from your instructor permission to try the following exercises, or at least those that are within your skill level. Perhaps the entire class would like to try them.

1. Walk

Walk your horse on a light contact once around the arena on both reins. Then walk a 20 meter circle – starting with his easier side – taking up a stronger contact. Ask for longer strides, then shorter strides, then longer ones again.

Slow the walk down before circling in the other direction. Before bending your horse the other way, walk him in a straight line for one horse’s length. Ask him to alternate between longer and shorter strides once more.

The horse now ought to have a heightened alertness to your aids, as you are continuously changing movement, which requires his attentiveness.

Now ride the horse in figure eights, try to keep the changes between right and left as smooth as possible. Always walk one horse length before you change directions.

2. Trot Exercises

The above exercises can also be performed in trot, and are an excellent way to prevent your horse from getting ‘stuck’ in one direction and leaning on one rein.

Add transitions between trot to walk and back to trot again. Work on making smooth transitions, so your horse listens willingly to your aids and begins to accept your contact.

More advanced riders can ride trot serpentines across the arena in three even loops. As you ride from one long side to the other, ask your horse for a few strides of walk before transitioning up to trot again. Your horse will start to wait for your aids – which you want – but use your legs to ensure forwards movement at all times. You don’t want him to become hesitant as he anticipates a downward transition. For that reason, don’t always ask for walk in the same place.

3. Canter Exercises

Request lengthening as you reach the long side, and gain control of the horse prior to reaching the short side. Consistent switching from canter to trot and then a resumption of canter, incorporating cantering changing to walking, will help your horse remain at attention, as lengthening and shortening the horse’s stride on the circular 20 meter paths.

All the above exercises help your horse become attentive because you’re varying the routine and suppling his body, making it easier for him to do as you ask. If you make your horse’s task more pleasant for him, he’ll make your horseback riding lessons more pleasant for you.

On his horseback lessons website, Milton provides simple and comprehensive lessons including video instructions. Learn how to ride a horse the safe and the confident way.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Milton, Jim "Does Your Horse Remain Focused During Horseback Riding Lessons?." Does Your Horse Remain Focused During Horseback Riding Lessons?. 7 Jul. 2010. uberarticles.com. 28 Jul 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/does-your-horse-remain-focused-during-horseback-riding-lessons/>.

APA Style Citation:
Milton, J (2010, July 7). Does Your Horse Remain Focused During Horseback Riding Lessons?. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/does-your-horse-remain-focused-during-horseback-riding-lessons/

Chicago Style Citation:
Milton, Jim "Does Your Horse Remain Focused During Horseback Riding Lessons?" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/does-your-horse-remain-focused-during-horseback-riding-lessons/


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